Over time, your small business accumulates information, kind of like beaches accumulate sand. Individually, the contact information and buying habits of customers may not be terribly useful—think grains of sand—but you would miss that beach if the whole thing was gone.
To stretch this particular analogy beyond the breaking point, let’s say you have people coming in and stealing your sand. This is a bizarre thing to do, of course. But you need to protect the beach by keeping people out.
Fortunately, holding on to your information is easier than protecting beaches, where signs and fines are the preferred (and wimpy) means of holding off trespassers. Encrypting your data is like putting an enormous, spike-studded wall up. Sure, it’s not 100% guaranteed to keep everyone out, but it’s intimidating enough that most won’t even try.
E-mail encryption is particularly important, for a couple of reasons. The first is that personal information in e-mails cannot be read if you use it, by anything less than a master hacker who probably isn’t going out of his way to intercept your correspondence in the first place. Secondly, it protects you from your messages being read, which can be a giant embarrassment if company strategy of personal conversations leak out.
Given the low cost of encryption—many e-mail services include at least limited services for free—there’s really no reason not to do it. If you can encrypt the data you have backed up on your server, or at least place it behind a couple of layers of security, so much the better.
Do you encrypt your data? Let’s discuss.